Pep Guardiola expects Man City players to be ‘anxious and nervous’ in Champions League final
Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola has said he expects some of his players to be “anxious and nervous” in the Champions League final, but he is more worried about handling the disappointment of players who do not make the starting XI.
City will play their first final in Europe’s elite club competition on Saturday as they take on Chelsea, and while Guardiola’s squad are Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup winners – multiple times – the Spaniard knows the magnitude of the occasion may affect some.
“I know exactly the way we want to play, with who we’re going to play and I’m not going to bother them much,” he said.
“It’s an incredible experience to be here. I know exactly what I’m going to tell them. The guys who are anxious and nervous, I will tell them that’s normal.
“Some players will go out there with tension, some may struggle, but they have to handle this.
“I’m pretty sure we have to suffer to win the final. It’s nice to say enjoy it, but sometimes it’s not possible.
“You have to be resilient and adjust. We will try to be ourselves and do what we can.”
While Guardiola has his game-plan in place and knows exactly what to tell his team, finding the words for those who only make the bench will be tougher.
“Terrible. It’s absolutely a disaster. I advise you, don’t be a manager in your life,” he said.
“I don’t have any nice words to feel relief about the guys who won’t play, but my advice is to stick with the team. There are five or six substitutions and everybody has a chance.”
One player who is certain to start and is relishing the occasion is playmaker Kevin De Bruyne, who believes City have learnt their lesson from previous failures to reach the final.
“It’s been one of the goals of the club and one of the goals of the players. To be able to be there and play on the highest stage is a privilege,” said the Belgium international.
“The identity of the team is the same, but I think in the difficult moments we didn’t make too many mistakes.
“In the other years, in these types of games, we made one mistake too many and the other teams reacted to it by going ahead and we couldn’t get back.
“In games this year, we didn’t concede the goals that we have done in previous years.”
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